The city owns some 2,000 buildings. Their total surface area is around two million square metres, and their replacement value is around EUR 8 billion. The high maintenance backlog, around EUR 1.3 billion, for buildings owned by the city is a major economic challenge.
We manage and operate the extensive real estate assets by focusing on the long-term sustainability of the buildings, meaning that facilities must be designed and built to stand the test of time and serve a variety of users.
The condition of a building is affected by the time of construction and the building’s life cycle stage. A new or recently renovated building is generally in better condition than an old building that has not undergone any extensive renovations. The indoor air quality of buildings may also vary, even if the legal requirements are met.
Life cycle stages of a building
Use and maintenance
Surveys are performed to determine the condition of buildings
In 2014–2023, we commissioned approximately 2,000 surveys on the city’s facilities. Most of them involved service buildings such as schools, day-care centres or social services and health care facilities.
We handle some 200 condition surveys per year. We also perform radon measurements, among other things. Condition surveys are realised to provide information for the planning of both minor repairs and major renovations. In addition, we monitor the conditions in the facilities and the success of repairs, as well as investigate the causes of indoor air issues and other damage and defects.
We are actively involved in a variety of cooperation networks, working groups and development projects. The city also commissions theses related to indoor air and provides the required research materials.
Municipal indoor air network
In 2018, the authorities responsible for the condition of properties in Espoo, Helsinki and Vantaa set up a municipal indoor air network. In addition to the founding members, representatives from the cities of Porvoo, Turku, Tampere, Lahti, Oulu, Jyväskylä and Kuopio were invited to join the network. The network aims to identify good practices and harmonise procedures in areas such as structural engineering solutions, verification of the success of repairs, and verification and automation of building services.
Terveet tilat 2028 programme
The national Terveet tilat 2028 (Healthy Facilities 2028) programme aims to ensure that public buildings are healthy and to improve the treatment and rehabilitation of people suffering from bad indoor air. The aim of the ten-year programme is to establish property management procedures in which the condition of buildings, their suitability for their intended use and user experiences are regularly reviewed and evaluated.
The Sisäilma 2020 (Indoor Air 2020) project investigated factors contributing to good indoor air quality. Real-time measurements were taken and feedback was collected from the users of properties selected for the project. The project was managed by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.
Oppilaiden terveys ja sisäilma Helsingin peruskouluissa
The project on pupils’ health and indoor air in comprehensive schools of Helsinki investigated the experiences of pupils and their parents of indoor air quality in schools and developed an indoor air quality questionnaire for pupils. The project was realised in collaboration by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), the University of Helsinki and the City of Helsinki.
The project comprehensively investigated the improvement of the energy efficiency of service buildings to near-zero energy levels. The project covered areas such as structural physics, architecture and lighting.
Muovipäällysteisten lattioiden vaurioituminen kosteuden vaikutuksesta -hanke
Implemented by the Tampere University of Technology, the aim of the project, “Moisture damage to plastic flooring” in English, was to investigate contributing factors and damage processes affecting plastic flooring and to identify effective material combinations. The City of Helsinki was involved in the first stage of the project.